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Mental Floss - Felix Dennis

Grades
6 to 12
5 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Discover "random, interesting, amazing facts, quizzes, and trivia" at Mental Floss. This magazine-style offering features new posts daily on topics from science, history, culture, and...more
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Discover "random, interesting, amazing facts, quizzes, and trivia" at Mental Floss. This magazine-style offering features new posts daily on topics from science, history, culture, and more. For example, read about 6 Articles of Clothing That Caused Riots! Access the archives via the ALSO ON MENTAL FLOSS links near the bottom of the page for even more offerings. Any reader is guaranteed to learn something new and come away wanting to learn more. Find answers to imponderables or odd thoughts. Sections include Innovations, Words, Lists, and Quizzes with subareas for history, science, pop culture, etc. Click Videos to visit Mental Floss's YouTube channel or related videos. Articles are quick tidbits that invite you to share and learn. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (276), famous people (19), grammar (216), quizzes (96), trivia (17)

In the Classroom

Share Mental Floss on your class web page in any science, history, health, or reading class in middle school and up. Use it as a place for students to discover research topics related to your subject or as prompts for blog posts to get kids writing about something that interests them. Make a regular extra credit offering for students to write a blog post responding to something they learn here. If you have trouble getting students to read informational text, use these factoids as introductions to draw their interest before offering a longer article. Use these articles as starters for information literacy activities. Have partners research to find a corroborating (or debunking) source for the trivia offered here. English teachers will love some of the quick articles on misused or frequently misspelled words. Invite your students in any subject to find an article related to your subject and to create a poster version of that tip or tale using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here).

Comments

Awesome for so many topics. Blog post ideas! Love the layout and diversity. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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Virtual Musical Instruments - Virtual Musical Instruments

Grades
K to 12
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Bring the world of music and instruments into your classroom. With Virtual Musical Instruments, you can explore the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, or bongos. Select the instrument,...more
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Bring the world of music and instruments into your classroom. With Virtual Musical Instruments, you can explore the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, or bongos. Select the instrument, and follow the directions for using the keyboard to play the different notes. Create different melodies using different notes or rhythms. Use the guitar tuner to be sure you are in tune. There is no record option on this tool. If you want to record your beat, there are many alternative options (such as using a cell phone, iPod, or an old-fashioned recorder.
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tag(s): music theory (43), musical instruments (48)

In the Classroom

Virtual Musical Instruments opens up the world of music into many other subjects. In music class, discover the different instruments, sounds, and rhythms the virtual instruments can produce. Allow your students to make their own compositions. Challenge them to determine a way to give the directions for their composition to another person so that they can repeat the original piece. In language arts class, discuss mood in literature. Determine the instruments used, the rhythms, and sounds needed to make that effect. During Readers' Theater, add a musical score for more excitement and engagement with further analysis of the text. Have students create a musical composition that tells a story. Now, play that musical story for the class, and turn it into a writing prompt. Use musical sounds and beats to illustrate the concepts of literature and the use of plot. Determine a melody for each character. Write to explain why each character has that musical composition. Math class brings the study of fractions with types of notes: whole note, half note, quarter note, and eighth notes. Let students create a musical sentence that represents them and write to explain why. Use whatever recording option is most practical in your classroom.
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The Migrant Trail - Marco Williams

Grades
7 to 12
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The Migrant Trail is a reality simulation with the goal of teaching about undocumented Mexican migrants and border patrol officers. See both sides of the situation. Learn what drives...more
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The Migrant Trail is a reality simulation with the goal of teaching about undocumented Mexican migrants and border patrol officers. See both sides of the situation. Learn what drives migrants to risk their lives to cross the border into the United States. Participate as a border patrol officer. Learn that they do not only apprehend migrants, but also rescue and treat those who suffer from the harsh elements encountered in trying to cross the desert. Participating in this activity is an excellent way to strengthen decision-making skills and at the same time acquire cultural understanding in order to see both sides of the issue about migration from Mexico. A documentary on PBS titled The Undocumented was the inspiration for this interactive. It is not necessary to view the film to use the interactive.

tag(s): critical thinking (108), immigrants (20), immigration (58), migration (59), problem solving (272), reading comprehension (116)

In the Classroom

Introduce this interactive to students on a projector or interactive whiteboard. You may want to start out as a border patrol officer so students will understand the underlying humanitarianism in this job. The officers in this interactive are empathetic and concerned about the health of the migrants. Have students explore individually or in pairs the different migrants, their history, and decisions they have to make while crossing the desert. Be sure to supply earbuds/headphones or have students silence the audio on the computers. There are short biographies of the migrants. Pair weaker readers with stronger readers as necessary. The Migrant Trail is an excellent way to make students think about and discuss a real-world issue in a government class. In an economy class, talk about the role of public policy in citizenship and the financial matters that drive the migrants.
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Home Shrunken Home - New York Times

Grades
9 to 12
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Learn about the small world of micro-apartments in this New York Times article with a photo slideshow showing how micro-apartments are built. See the construction methods, and learn...more
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Learn about the small world of micro-apartments in this New York Times article with a photo slideshow showing how micro-apartments are built. See the construction methods, and learn about the tiny home building trend in response to the high cost of urban living. Read about the people who opt for minimal living quarters, in this case prefabricated modular units. The article is an invitation to learn more about home trends, structures, and the cultural and economic decisions we make about where we live.
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tag(s): architecture (83), environment (317), homes (12), STEM (134), structures (24)

In the Classroom

Share this article in a class on environmental issues, a social studies class on economics and current events, or even a physics class learning about structures and forces. Note that this article is a great example of informational text! Have students make observations about the pros and cons of modular mini-apartments for the resident, the city, and the environment. Have student groups investigate related topics in building materials, environmentally-friendly design, and urban crowding. Hold a class debate: Mini-living: Positive trend or Foolish Fad? This article would be great for gifted students interested in contemporary issues or architecture. Have them design their own mini-apartments, complete with appliances and built in furniture, to meet the challenges of green living, high-cost housing, and urban crowding!

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Know More - The Washington Post

Grades
7 to 12
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Know More describes itself as "a site for people who like learning stuff." This blog style site offers infographics to intrigue viewers into finding out more. The topics are as ...more
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Know More describes itself as "a site for people who like learning stuff." This blog style site offers infographics to intrigue viewers into finding out more. The topics are as widely varied as immigration, snow fall depth, diseases, or the statistics of Jeopardy's Daily Double! New additions appear daily, so you will never run out of things to "know more" about. Click an infographic, read a quick explanation, and delve deeper via links to the source data and related articles. The subject matter is timely and often parallels topics in today's news.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): infographics (42), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Share this site as a link on your class web page to inspire students in search of a blog topic, a research topic, or current events stories they can "relate to." Share one of the infographics on a projector or interactive whiteboard to give students practice interpreting visual representations of data or to spark discussion about current events. If you assign students to share current events stories, they will love this as a starting point for their investigations. Challenge your gifted students to dig deeper into a topic that fascinates them and share the results as their own infographic using these as a model. Share this site in math classes to make data and statistics more meaningful and to connect to the "real world." Use a Know More infographic as a writing prompt for persuasive writing. Use these visuals to lure students into experience with informational texts by letting them choose one from the widely varied offerings.

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The Sketchbook Project - Art House Projects, LLC

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Discover over 32,000 digitized artist sketchbooks from over 70,000 artists in 135+ countries. The Sketchbook Project is a crowd-sourced collaborative of artworks by very serious artists...more
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Discover over 32,000 digitized artist sketchbooks from over 70,000 artists in 135+ countries. The Sketchbook Project is a crowd-sourced collaborative of artworks by very serious artists and those just starting out. There is an annual cycle (that costs money) to JOIN the project and have your own sketchbook digitized, but not to see the results. Browse the sketchbooks by theme or check out artworks created in response to a "Challenge" such as creating a collage from found objects in 5 minutes or less. Weekly Challenges offer "creative prompts to medium-specific swaps and exchanges," often shared via this site as well as through social media such as Twitter or Facebook. Browse to find inspiration for your own art or for challenges to share with others. You need not join to enjoy browsing sketchbooks and to "peek" into artists' creative process. If you join for free, you can curate your own collections from the various sketchbooks. The FAQ page (accessed via a link near the bottom of the "Participate" page) explains the curation tools. One caveat, however: since this site is open to the public for contributions, there is no restriction on the types of sketches or artwork topics the sketchbooks may include. You will want to preview before turning young people loose on this site in a classroom setting.
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tag(s): artists (75), creativity (109), journals (21)

In the Classroom

Share this site or specific sketchbooks in an Art class to inspire students to find their own creative process and to start a sketchbook or electronic "idea bin" for collecting bits and pieces of inspiration. If you teach writing, share the concept of a sketchbook as a place to collect quick doodles with accompanying bits of writing as material for personal writing projects. Show the sketchbook process of these modern artists alongside the sketchbooks of Leonardo DaVinci as part of a STEM/engineering unit on inventions and creative thinking. Encourage your gifted students to maintain a sketchbook or "idea bin" for the creative ideas that pop into their minds. The examples here will help them get started. If your school permits and parents grant permission, allow your young artists (over age 13) to curate their own sketchbook collections from within this site or participate in weekly challenges. You could also set up a class account to collect specific projects and works in a curated collection.

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Simon - Neave Games

Grades
K to 12
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Do what Simon Says at this virtual game similar to the old favorite! Follow the pattern of lights and sounds and repeat back to Simon. Start with one sound/light. Simon ...more
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Do what Simon Says at this virtual game similar to the old favorite! Follow the pattern of lights and sounds and repeat back to Simon. Start with one sound/light. Simon plays that and adds another. Repeat back, and Simon adds one more every time. Earn a point for each time you repeat back the sequence correctly. Continue for as long as you can remember. This is the online version of the handheld game, Simon.

tag(s): game based learning (103), patterns (85), preK (281), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Join forces with Simon to help improve memory skills. Introduce on your interactive whiteboard or projector to demonstrate memory skills. Help young students learn simple patterns by trying "their hands" at this interactive. Very young students can even use the beginner games to learn colors. Share and discuss ways to improve with such techniques as sound, visual, or "chunking." Use as a reward time device. Keep a class best score and challenge students to beat it! Use this tool to grab your students' attention to come back to their seats after centers or individual/group work periods. Share this link on your class website for students to "play" both in and out of the classroom.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Creators Project - Voice Media

Grades
5 to 12
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Science becomes creative at The Creators Project. As they describe themselves, "The Creators Project is a global network dedicated to the celebration of creativity, arts and technology."...more
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Science becomes creative at The Creators Project. As they describe themselves, "The Creators Project is a global network dedicated to the celebration of creativity, arts and technology." Find fascinating works of art and functional inventions that use unusual materials, clever design, and unique applications of science and engineering. New posts appear regularly, featuring collections, exhibitions, or featured inventions. Watch videos or read text posts with images of such things as a $30,000 dog house, "fossilized" books as sculpture, or a motion-activated keyboard. Browse the latest features with links to related posts. Click tags at the end of a post to find related ideas, or search for a specific word to explore past posts. A few of the ads are annoying, but hitting refresh makes them change.
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tag(s): creativity (109), engineering (125), inventors and inventions (99), STEM (134)

In the Classroom

Turn STEM into STEAM in your science, math, or art class. This project is perfect for convincing students that science is neither boring nor unimaginative! Lure your artistic students into science and your pragmatic scientists into creativity. This project fits well with any Maker Movement activities you may do in your school. Share a feature or two each week in your science class and ask students what science concepts the creator had to use to achieve that design. Ask what problems he/she might have faced in creating it. Ask why it appeals to people (function? visual design?) Challenge student groups to choose a design or invention on this site and analyze the physics behind it. How/why does it work? What simple machines do they see within it? Why did they use those materials? Have them share their findings (or hypotheses) in a multimedia presentation or wiki page, sort of an "invention unwrapped." Teachers of gifted or science club sponsors can find loads of project inspiration at this site. Share it during a career unit for students to investigate creative ways to use science and design in a future career. Have them research the people behind an invention or art piece they particularly enjoy.

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Big Dayta - Tsai Hsing School

Grades
3 to 12
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What do you do in a day? Join a worldwide classroom sharing project for students to learn about life in other schools and cultures. This teacher-driven project, begun as a ...more
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What do you do in a day? Join a worldwide classroom sharing project for students to learn about life in other schools and cultures. This teacher-driven project, begun as a collaboration between schools in Tai Pei and California, collects "unique student-generated global dayta" about students' daily life using a simple, online Google Form. Day + data = DAYTA. The dayta is available for your classroom to use in loads of different math, social studies, and writing activities. Click to add your class using the Contact button. The project encourages you to form collaborations with another school. Click the link to the Idea Guide to find curriculum connections and lesson ideas. The project is adding new classes, so why not join in? Be sure to check out the community area where you can share your successes and questions with other teachers.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), data (148)

In the Classroom

Introduce Big Dayta in your world cultures, math, or writing class. If you team teach, work together with your computer, math, social studies, or English teacher to have students share dayta and then analyze and use it for your own class projects. Find specific curriculum activities for math, writing, and social studies classes on the site or ask your students what dayta they would like to compare and contrast in a "hands-on" experience with data. If they like learning about life in other places, your class may also want to join in #XW1W (Across the World Once a Week). Be sure to pass these projects along to other teachers! As a geography extension, have students create an electronic placemarker file using Google Maps or MapSkip or an actual map poster of the places they learn about.

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ASAP Science YouTube Channel - Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown

Grades
6 to 12
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Enjoy science explained musically through clever songs. Discover weekly additions of cleverly written and illustrated songs on topics such as the Periodic Table, How Your Brain Works,...more
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Enjoy science explained musically through clever songs. Discover weekly additions of cleverly written and illustrated songs on topics such as the Periodic Table, How Your Brain Works, 8 Sick Remedies That Actually Work, and more. Each video explains the science behind a surprising fact or the scientific answer to a question like "Can you really be scared to death?" The New Periodic Table song is a must-see. Find it by browsing through the Popular section. Note that this channel is intended for the general, adult public, so some topics (such as sex) are for mature audiences! If your district blocks YouTube, videos may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): periodic table (50), video (254)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your teacher favorites to find videos to use at the start of a science or health unit. Make science more appealing as a way to answer the questions we ponder every day. Do NOT turn students loose on this channel. Because of the popular "adult" videos on this channel -- not appropriate for the classroom, but perfectly appropriate for adults -- we recommend locating the specific video you want to share and placing the url or embed code for that one video on your class web page or wiki. You can also share on a projector or interactive whiteboard. To avoid any possibility of showing titles that may cause distraction, use a tool such as ViewPure, reviewed here to clear away all the YouTube clutter. Use an ASAP Science video as inspiration for students to create their own videos explaining a science concept or debunking a science myth. Make this an option for research projects to appeal to your musically talented or "poetic" science students.

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Myths: Everything You Need - Scholastic Inc

Grades
K to 12
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Discover what influences myths from ancient cultures have on contemporary cultures. Add pizazz to your unit on mythology. Learn about famous writers. Explore the detailed lessons and...more
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Discover what influences myths from ancient cultures have on contemporary cultures. Add pizazz to your unit on mythology. Learn about famous writers. Explore the detailed lessons and plans. Visit Myths From Around the World, a writing activity that teaches about myths from fifteen regions of the world. Read the myths of ancient Greece. Find directions to write your own myth with Jane Yolen's help. Lessons instruct the learning of the characteristics of a myth through reading, comparisons, and making inferences. Peruse the unit on Heroes and Legends, which includes lesson plans for examining heroes and their common characteristics. Furthermore, there is an Inuit unit that dives into the myths, legends, and stories from the Inuit culture. Learn about the Hero Twins from the Mayan culture. There is much here to explore for all ages!
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tag(s): digital storytelling (144), enrichment (13), myths and legends (25)

In the Classroom

After you choose your level, discover one or many of the lessons to integrate into your English Language Arts or Social Studies curriculum. Choose your objectives, and find the lessons that are appropriate. Some lessons can be shared on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Others are more appropriate alone as individual work. Materials are included so much of the prep work is already done for you. To conclude the myths unit, have students create a play featuring a unique culture and a hero they create. Students will need a detailed script containing; theme, plot, settings, and characters including a hero. Go as far as you want developing props, costumes, and accompanying sounds and music. Have students present using a live presentation, video, or digital storytelling. Choose from the TeachersFirst Digital Storytelling tools, reviewed here. This site is a great reference for an after-school enrichment program on writing, reading, book clubs, or even self esteem.
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Linguistadores - Bob Rafferty

Grades
6 to 12
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Linguistadores offers language learning through articles, music, and videos. Select your language and reading content level for genuine news based on level and interest. Double click...more
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Linguistadores offers language learning through articles, music, and videos. Select your language and reading content level for genuine news based on level and interest. Double click on any word to translate into a language of your choice. Listen to songs in your target language while viewing the lyrics on the screen. Save unknown words to your account with a click then practice with flash card style games. Free accounts offer up to 10 articles and 20 saved words per day.
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tag(s): guided reading (47), independent reading (128), reading comprehension (116), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

Use Linguistadores with ESL/ELL or special education students as an interesting way to deliver appropriate leveled informational texts. Have students create individual accounts and use as a computer lab or classroom center activity to build vocabulary and reading skills. Use this site to differentiate for students of all levels. Share this site with your teaching colleagues to help differentiate for learning support (or gifted or ESL/ELL) students. Select informational texts to use for close reading (a la Common Core) together as a class on a projector or interactive whiteboard.

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Wonkblog: Kurt Vonnegut graphed the world's most popular stories (blog post) - Ana Swanson/Washington Post

Grades
5 to 12
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Read about and see "graphs" of famous stories as sketched by author Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007). This blog post includes an embedded YouTube video of Vonnegut explaining his "graphs"...more
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Read about and see "graphs" of famous stories as sketched by author Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007). This blog post includes an embedded YouTube video of Vonnegut explaining his "graphs" of classic story "shapes" as well as examples for each. The video is old and grainy, but quite entertaining. Shapes/graphs include "Man in a Hole," "Boy Meets Girl," and even the classic creation story. You need not have read the exact examples he provides to understand -- and start wondering about the "shape" of stories you know. Even younger readers could understand these concepts if you explain them in simplest terms. The graphs, or story shapes, are shown as infographics redrawn by Maya Eilam. You can view the full infographic of the graphs/story shapes as a single image herehere. Some videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.
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tag(s): authors (120), creative writing (166), infographics (42), narrative (24), stories and storytelling (33)

In the Classroom

Explore the patterns of story and narratives in our culture and beyond using this visual approach to story mapping. In a high school language arts class, watch the video of Vonnegut explaining story shapes (about 4 minutes) and challenge student partners or groups to think of other examples of that story map, even from movies or television shows. Then turn the class loose to make their own graphic representation of a literary piece you have read recently - or of a movie that is popular right now. If you have an interactive whiteboard, have students direct a student "emcee" to do the drawing as the class gives instructions. With younger students, you may need to talk as a class to be sure students are able to grasp the abstract patterns shown in the graphs, and the video may be too adult level for them to understand without a slower discussion. Once your class (of any level) seems to grasp the idea, post story shapes on your class wiki or web page (with proper credit) so students can add their own examples of tales they have read or watched that fit the pattern. If you give them extra credit for noticing such stories in their own lives, they will internalize the idea of narrative patterns. You could also make a story shape bulletin board where students can add index cards with names of books/tales they read under each pattern. If you are promoting narrative writing, use these story patterns as a way to help students get ideas for where a storyline can go so it has a beginning, middle, and end.

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CodeCombat - CodeCombat

Grades
3 to 12
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Harness the power of problem solving with CodeCombat. CodeCombat provides a unique challenge to learn code while playing an engaging game. Escape enemies or navigate a dungeon by typing...more
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Harness the power of problem solving with CodeCombat. CodeCombat provides a unique challenge to learn code while playing an engaging game. Escape enemies or navigate a dungeon by typing basic JavaScript commands. Each level of play provides a new challenge for programmers to experiment the best way to accomplish the goals of the game. Write JavaScript code to direct the character's actions, and then run the code to see what happens. Correct the code if needed to complete the level. Programmers earn accessories, XP, and achievement badges after conquering a level. A series of five stars indicates the difficulty for each level. CodeCombat never feels like a gamified coding course because it makes learning fun. The emphasis is on the game instead of the code. CodeCombat is free to play, but an email is required to create an account to save information and for the multiplayer option. A premium upgrade is available for a fee. This review is for the FREE portion only.

tag(s): coding (47), creativity (109), critical thinking (108), problem solving (272)

In the Classroom

Learning to code is an opportunity to teach students to think and problem solve. Coding is a critical digital literacy skill for the future. Create an after school coding club for students to access the site. Challenge students to write stories to accompany each level of code they complete in CodeCombat. Encourage students to create as they become more advanced in CodeCombat. Provide an environment for students to collaborate to solve the levels.

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We Are Visual Animals - Charlie Clark

Grades
9 to 12
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Witness the work of today's digital designers and read about them on this remarkable site. This blog features "visual creatives" selected and interviewed by blog creator Charlie Clark....more
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Witness the work of today's digital designers and read about them on this remarkable site. This blog features "visual creatives" selected and interviewed by blog creator Charlie Clark. See their works interspersed with questions that delve into the why behind them. Questions such as "Describe your creative process - how do you come up with an idea for a new piece?" elicit thoughtful responses that help all of us "visual animals" understand what we are seeing. New posts appear about every two weeks. The interface of the site is simple but elegant, with small icons to advance to the next post or "see" the works (an eye icon).

tag(s): artists (75), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Share this blog with your visual arts students or students creating an online literary magazine. Use it as an example of the kind of artists statements and interviews that can make the difference between a stilted exhibit and a meaningful immersion. Encourage your high school art students to use some of the ideas and interview questions from this blog in their own visual portfolio sites to use for themselves and for college applications. Use one of the web page tools from the Edge to create personal portfolio sites. Art or photography teachers can use the works on this site to teach design principles. Share images on an interactive whiteboard or projector for students to annotate the images and talk about what makes them "work." Use images from the featured artists as visual writing prompts in English class. Use some of the artist's statements as examples to inspire more personal college essays.

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American Bald Eagle Foundation - Bald Eagle Foundation

Grades
1 to 12
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Fly into the Bald Eagle Foundation, in Haines Alaska, dedicated to the preservation of this national symbol. Discover eagle facts and incredible image galleries. Read more about the...more
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Fly into the Bald Eagle Foundation, in Haines Alaska, dedicated to the preservation of this national symbol. Discover eagle facts and incredible image galleries. Read more about the museum, festival, and preserve in Haines, Alaska. Be sure to click on Festival on the top menu. Find a YouTube video full of beautiful vistas for Haines, Alaska, plenty of history, and cool, unusual information about the bald eagle. If your district blocks YouTube, this video may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): endangered species (38), extinction (4)

In the Classroom

Study the bald eagle and its current status as no longer endangered. Use as a research site for bald eagle information. Show the video under the Festivals tab on your projector or interactive whiteboard. If you do not wish to show all scenes in the video use a program like Reel Surfer, reviewed here, to show only the portions of the video you want your students to see. Look for an animal in your area, and research it. Do a Problem Based Learning Project on creating dioramas and information for creating public awareness. Create a festival to promote the preservation of the species. Have students create commercials and posters to meet speaking and listening standards. For online posters use a program like CheckThis, reviewed here. Create a public blog for an ongoing research watch. If you have not started blogging yet, check out TeachersFirst Blog Basics.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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XKCD - XKCD

Grades
8 to 12
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Get ready to have a good laugh at Ready for a good laugh? Come on over to XKCD, a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language. Three times a week ...more
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Get ready to have a good laugh at Ready for a good laugh? Come on over to XKCD, a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language. Three times a week find comics with stick figures featuring mathematical, scientific, and cultural humor. Dig through the archives to find the perfect one for you! Creative Commons License allows reprinting of the comics. Each comic has an individual URL that can be shared to direct students to that specific comic. Be sure to PREVIEW before you share any comics with your class. Our editors found a few that may be questionable depending on the maturity of your students.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), humor (15)

In the Classroom

Add humor to your science, math, language, and current events classes to lighten the mood! Spice up professional presentations with humor, and keep your audience involved. Share the direct URL to any comic that relates to your curriculum or specific topics. Encourage students to create comics with your current content. Have students use one of the tools and ideas included in this collection. Keep your class website humorous with a few comics from XKCD.

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Math Puzzles - Transum

Grades
4 to 12
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Math Puzzles offers a large selection of puzzles with mathematical connections. Scroll through the page to find puzzles using geometric shapes, crosswords, number squares, and more....more
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Math Puzzles offers a large selection of puzzles with mathematical connections. Scroll through the page to find puzzles using geometric shapes, crosswords, number squares, and more. Choose any puzzle to view directions and begin to play.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): crosswords (18), logic (235), problem solving (272)

In the Classroom

Share the math puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use as a math center or when you have an extra 5-10 minutes of time. Create a link to the puzzles on classroom computers or your class website. This is a great find for use with gifted students to practice logic and problem-solving skills. Have students create blogs using Throwww ( here) to explain their problem solving process. This site allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. A unique URL is provided and this site is as easy as using a basic Word program!

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Paperhouses - Paperhouses

Grades
7 to 12
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Peek into the architectural design process or even participate in it via this public sharing site of blueprints from some of the world's best and most innovative and respected architects....more
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Peek into the architectural design process or even participate in it via this public sharing site of blueprints from some of the world's best and most innovative and respected architects. Join for free to access "architecture in open source" to see how new materials are being used, read blog posts by designers, and browse designs and actual blueprints. See how architects are solving challenges of sustainability and more.

tag(s): architecture (83), design (83), engineering (125), environment (317), structures (24)

In the Classroom

Share this site as part of a simple unit on measurement and scale (blueprints!) or in discussions about the environment, engineering, and the impact of human behavior on our world. Include it as a link on your class web page for art classes, gifted classes, or environmental issues. If you teach CAD or tech ed, this site is a wonderful example of drafting put to use in the real world. Have your science students research some of the materials used in the designs or analyze the structures' load bearing properties in a physics class. Share this site as part of career explorations so students can explore what architects say and do. Encourage students to select designs and share their analysis or discussions about them as a blog post or wiki page. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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Nautilus - Nautilus

Grades
9 to 12
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Explore science through fascinating articles in this episodic monthly magazine. Although you can subscribe for a fee, you can also check out past and current issues online for free....more
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Explore science through fascinating articles in this episodic monthly magazine. Although you can subscribe for a fee, you can also check out past and current issues online for free. As they describe themselves, "We deliver big-picture science by reporting on a single monthly topic from multiple perspectives." The combined perspectives include, "the sciences, culture and philosophy into a single story told by the world's leading thinkers and writers." Each Thursday the site publishes a new "chapter" of that month's thematic issue. Past issue themes include Creativity, Illusions, Genius, Big Bangs, and more. Expect to be fascinated by the many angles. You will want to talk and share about what you learn!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): careers (132), expository writing (44), scientists (69), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Share these articles as part of a broad discussion of the role of science in our world, such as during a unit on scientists or careers. Share Nautilus with your gifted or science-focused students to spark interests in scientific fields that are new to them. Assign gifted students to select an article and research it further when they have tested out of regular curriculum. They can share their discoveries as a multimedia presentation or write a blog post about them. Use articles from the magazine as fodder for class debates in English class or pull excerpts to use as writing prompts for informational or expository writing. The reading levels are high school and up, so be sure to partner weaker readers with a more capable reader if using this for class assignments. Check specific reading levels of an article by pasting its url into the Juicy Studio Readability Test, reviewed here.

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